Nicole Campbell

Positivity in the Face of Suffering and Challenge

The best way to drive home a point is through the sharing of stories. This week on the Less Stress in Life Podcast, we finished a 4-part series on resilience. Physical resilience, emotional resilience, mental resilience, and spiritual resilience each had their own episode.  You can click on this link or find it on your favorite podcast channel. As with all our series, we look for a story to share about someone’s experience with the to help our readers and listeners apply the concepts.

Nicole Campbell, BA M.Ed., has an incredible story of resilience, and is the perfect person to illustrate how people can find meaning and purpose in life, even through challenging times and in the face of suffering.  

Her story begins with enduring 10 years of medical trauma while looking for the cause of digestive upset and painful joints. In our bonus podcast, Nicole shares the difficulty of suffering symptoms while being told there was nothing wrong with her. A very astute physician discovered an unusual symptom linked to a group of hereditary disorders that affect the connective tissues of the body. Nicole finally received the diagnosis of Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects the strength and flexibility of skin, bones, blood vessels, and other organs.

On April 1, 2018,  Nicole began having excruciating pain in her thigh. It took two trips to the local ER to discover that she was in septic shock. Still without a diagnosis, she was transferred to a larger hospital for further evaluation. On arrival, they discovered her entire leg had turned black, blue, and blistered. Somehow, she contracted necrotizing fasciitis in her leg. The only way to save her life was amputation. Nicole shared how her family got a prayer chain going and that she went from being the sickest patient in the city to starting the recovery process in just 72 hours. She went on to have more than 20 surgeries during that hospital stay to clean up the amputation site at the hip joint.

Most of us would have struggled to maintain a positive spirit, much less a clear sense of purpose and meaning to life in the face of loss, pain, and suffering, but Nicole felt lucky to be alive. The survival rate is 5% for those who contract the type of necrotizing fasciitis she had. Nicole also credits her strong faith and support system for her recovery.

She is now playing tennis, and just finished her second master’s degree in trauma and resiliency and is now working as a Trauma Specialist for a school district in Michigan. If you would like to hear Nicole talk about her amazing journey and her view on resilience, click here for the podcast.